How Do I Choose the Best Recumbent Elliptical?

Dan Cavallari

Choosing the best recumbent elliptical is not a difficult process, but you will need to educate yourself about the features, designs, and materials that various machines offer. If at all possible, be sure to sit in each recumbent elliptical machine you are considering to find the one that is most comfortable for you. The machine you buy should be adjustable so you can move the various parts in such a way that they fit your body size and style, and all parts should be made from durable materials. Avoid cheap plastics if possible.

Woman posing
Woman posing

A recumbent elliptical allows you to exercise without feeling the aches and pains of sitting upright in an uncomfortable position. The elliptical motion is easy on joints, which means you are at less of a risk of incurring injuries. If, however, the machine is not adjustable and you cannot get into the proper position to use the recumbent elliptical properly, you may still be at risk of injury. Adjustability is exceptionally important, and you should be able to move the seat of the machine very quickly and easily. Once the seat is in position, it should lock in place to avoid movement during exercise.

Another key consideration when choosing the best recumbent elliptical is the computer included with the machine. Most machines will feature some sort of computer that will track basic functions such as speed, total time, and revolutions per minute (RPM), though others are more advanced and will feature measurements for calories burned or offer functions that will dictate your workout. You can program the computer to change the resistance of the elliptical unit at a specific time during the workout to ensure the best workout possible. Choose a computer that is easy to use and has the functions you are most likely to use regularly. Avoid overly complex computers that have features you are not likely to use often or at all.

The machine itself should feature a stable base that will not rock or otherwise move while you are exercising on the recumbent elliptical. The base should be made of a durable metal, and you should avoid machines with plastic bases. While plastic components are acceptable, any weight-bearing components should be made from metal instead for durability. The seat should be made of a durable and comfortable material, and if possible, a breathable material that will prevent discomfort from sweating. Any hand grips should feature a rubber coating for comfort and assured grip.

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Discussion Comments


@Pippinwhite -- I've tried the recumbent elliptical and I like it, along with the treadmill. The standing elliptical machines gave me a headache, but I haven't had that with the recumbent kind. The seats are more comfortable, too.

I tried them when my gym bought a few and I think they give a really smooth workout, once I got the seat and tension adjusted to my body. I wrenched my knee a few years ago, so I'm always looking for a way to work out that won't mess up my knee. The recumbent elliptical has been a good solution.


I've seen recumbent bikes, and my gym has two kinds of standing ellipticals, but I've never seen a recumbent one. I don't use the elliptical, since the movement tends to trigger severe motion sickness. Maybe a recumbent elliptical wouldn't do that, since I wouldn't actually be moving up and down, which is the main trigger for me, I think. My head would be stable.

I can walk on a treadmill all day, or ride a recumbent bike, but I have a terrible time with the elliptical. It's just too much for my inner ear to handle. So maybe a recumbent one would be an answer.

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